If It’s March, My Office is Full of Boxes

provost-dan-howardLast Friday, I finished reading the last of 77 promotion and tenure files sent to me by the colleges and branch campuses of NMSU. Although it is always a relief to move the last box of files from my office to the office of Melody Munson-McGee, I do not begrudge the time I spend poring over the files. Each of them is a window into the work and accomplishments of one of our faculty members, and from them I gain insights into different fields of study, new ways of helping students learn and grow, and the many ways in which our faculty enrich our university, our local community, our region, and our nation. It is a fascinating peek under the hood of this university and one that inspires confidence in the future of NMSU and its role as a great land-grant university.

The month I spend reading files also brings home to me the rigor of the process by which we vet our faculty and the high standards that are in place for promotion and tenure. Whereas most employees at NMSU have a one-year probationary period, our tenure-track faculty have a six-year probationary period, after which they have either met the high standards for tenure and are awarded a continuous contract or they must find another place of employment. It is a demanding, high stakes process that we work hard to humanize by making sure that junior faculty members understand the expectations they must fulfill, and by providing mentoring and support for them.

By the time a promotion and/or tenure file reaches my desk, it has been reviewed and judged at the departmental level, by the department head, by a college committee, and by the dean of the college or the president of one of our branch campuses. I very much appreciate the time and attention that each candidate for tenure and/or promotion devotes to writing and assembling the various sections of the file, as well as the time and care that goes into evaluating the file at each level of review. The thoroughness with which each candidate is assessed is a testament to the commitment the faculty and administrators of NMSU have to ensuring continued excellence among our faculty.

Thanks to everyone who played a role in the tenure and promotion process this year. There are few activities we engage in that are more important for securing the long-term future of this institution.

With all best wishes,

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